Military Spouses: A Gold Mine of Untapped Talent
While hiring military veterans has been part of the national conversation for a while - and veteran unemployment numbers have fallen below the national unemployment rate - another skilled and highly-educated group remains underrepresented in the job force: military spouses.
Military spouses bring a number of key skills to the marketplace and represent a goldmine of untapped talent. Don't underestimate this group when hiring for roles that require adaptability, resourcefulness, and independent workers.
Unique Challenges & Strengths
About every two to three years the military sends PCS orders (permanent change of duty station), so a military family may have uprooted multiple times over the service member's career.
As a result, many military spouses have worked a variety of jobs in a variety of locations. That means their resumes often have gaps or industry jumps. Historically, this has been a stumbling block for candidates with this background. Especially in the days of automation, this dedicated group often gets overlooked.
While many military spouse job seekers often have some form of higher education, the group as a whole tends to be underemployed (meaning their work is below their skill level.) Why? Some employers simply don't recognize the skill and potential of this qualified candidate group.
Smart employers recognize that this workforce is uniquely suited for today’s remote and ever-changing environment, which requires employees to be adaptable, trainable, and responsible – all qualities that military spouses develop through their complex lifestyles.
Military Spouses are Adaptable
Spouses must often wear multiple hats: moving coordinators, advocates, community leaders, event planners, financial managers, and more. Through the different positions they've held, the different places they've lived, and communities they've encountered, chances are a military spouse has gained valuable skills.
Learning how to adjust quickly to a new role isn't a problem, same with integrating with a new team and learning new business processes.
Military Spouses are Trainable
A recent study shows that "pursuing education to improve their work situation is a high priority for military spouses," despite the fact that 80 percent had pursued higher education or vocational training.
This group is eager to grow their skills and knowledge. When reviewing military spouse resumes, think outside the box on their previous experience. Even if they don't have the exact training or experience on the job description, they come ready to learn. Don't box them into entry-level roles, you'll be underutilizing this talent.
Top Roles for Military Spouses
Military spouses are excellent candidates for remote positions. Here are some of the top roles for military spouses:
- Career Counselor
- Community Services
- Federal Government
- Financial Services
- Human Resources
- Information Technology
- Labor Relations
- Operations/Business Management
- Product Management
- Project Management
- Public Administration
- Public Relations
- Recruiting/Talent Acquisition
- Retail & Customer Service
- Training & Development
Find This Hidden Talent Pool
As with hiring veterans, employing military spouses is a smart way to find the talent that your competitors are missing. In a job market where recruiters are clamoring for candidates, military spouses can deliver with an array of skills that apply to a wide range of fields. By necessity military spouses have become adaptable, resilient, strong leaders who can handle pressure.
See these ideas for year-round ways to celebrate your military-affiliated staff members.
By Chris Newsome